On this page, you can find samples of art and creative writing from secondary school magazines across England, Scotland and Wales since 1950.

School magazines produced by grammar schools of the 1940s-60s were often used to publicise an ideal image of school to parents, alumni, and the wider community, but from the 60s onwards they were often vehicles of self-expression for pupils, mediated by teachers. New reprographic technologies, along with the sheer demographics of comprehensivisation, meant that school magazines began to move into the hands of pupils by the early 1970s. Not only was the pupil body in comprehensive schools more diverse, but these schools in the 1970s also tended to employ a minority of younger teachers who were trained and at least semi-engaged in aspects of ‘child-centred’ teaching and learning. This led to a growth in self-oriented tasks such as creative writing, previously associated with English primary education. You can read more about the significance of school magazines as a historical source, and how they changed over time and according to school type, in this blog post by Laura Carter.

Browse below to view poetry, art, puzzles and creative writing.

Poetry gallery

This gallery displays poetry from several school magazines between 1950 and 1983. Topics include punks, Valentine’s Day, the Space Race and Leo Sayer. Use the arrows to navigate through the gallery.

Art display

Here we have collected pieces of student artwork from school magazines and put them ‘on display’. Currently shown is art from pupils of Fairfield Grammar School between 1972-78. We’ll change the artwork regularly, so be sure to check again soon.

Puzzle & quiz section

This area contains various puzzles and quizzes from a range of secondary schools between 1961 and 1977. Fun pieces include a quiz entitled Are you a model pupil?, and a French crossword to test your language skills. Click on any image to enlarge it.

Credits from top to bottom, L to R: Fairfield Grammar School, 1972; Wyvern School, 1975; Fitzalan Technical High School, 1967; Wyvern School, 1975; Fitzalan Technical High School, 1961; Llanedeyrn High School, 1973; Fairfield Grammar School, 1977; Fairfield Grammar School, 1974; Fitzalan Technical High School, 1961; Alexandra Park School, undated; Wyvern School, 1975.

Creative writing exhibition

This section displays pieces of creative writing from four secondary school magazines between 1964 and 1975. The most popular topic of discussion is fashion, but other subjects include computers, horse riding, TV and ‘The School of the Year 2000’. Click the arrows below to cycle through the exhibition.